Why Not Higher Youth Unemployment?

Source: Shitty Times [link]

Ah. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that 9 out of 10 polytechnic and ITE graduates gain employment within 6 months of graduation. One cannot help wondering if Mr Teo was referring to foreign students or was it that Singstat decided to include National Service as form of employment. Alright, so:

"The average unemployment rate of residents aged 15 to 24 in Singapore was 6.7 per cent last year, compared to the global figure of 12.6 per cent. It is also lower than the youth unemployment rate in countries such as the United States (17 per cent), Germany (8.5 per cent) and South Korea (9.6 per cent)."

Looking at the figures, it seems that we have one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the world. Low unemployment news is welcoming.  The impressively low unemployment figures calm the public, the economy purrs and the government has something to flaunt about. It's a win-win-win situation. As long as someone has some form of employment to turn the wheel of life, everybody wins. Never mind if that job is a temp job which pays $4 per hour or that $1,300 a month job that could get one a HDB flat with $300 bucks to spare. So long the figures look good, Singapore wins.

Residents aged 15 to 24 is a young group. A higher average unemployment rate, such as the 12.6 per cent global average, of this group may not necessarily be a bad thing. Think about it, if Mark Zuckerberg was an Microsoft employee, you will not stumble upon this post via that facebook link, which is a tragedy for you and me. If Aitthipat Kulapongvanich was employed by Kasikorn Bank, we'll not be able to enjoy a large variety of exotic seaweed. Is it really a bad idea to have more unemployed youngsters? I don't think so. This group is the most precious creative resource of Singapore. These are the most dynamic people in the country who have the imagination to make a difference. With luck, you get quality entrepreneurs. Good ones I mean, not that kind who go whining to the whole world how mean the Singapore government is in their attempt to ween his addiction on cheap labour. [link] At worst, they create babies. 


  1. Gain what kind of employment after graduation?

    Sounds not right since those kids will be heading straight to NS. Unless he is referring only to females.

  2. I think you misunderstand how unemployment rate are calculated. From the MoM website.

    Unemployed Persons
    This refers to persons aged fifteen years and over who are not working but are available for work and are actively looking for a job during the reference period. They include persons who are not working but are taking steps to start their own business or taking up a new job after the reference period

    So Mark Zuckerberg was technically not unemployed. Same for Aitthipat Kulapongvanich was a online gambler who than ran his own company. Nor was Steve Jobs. Or Bill Gates. They were all in University when they started their companies. Entrepreneurs are considered 'employed'.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that based on the way the unemployment rate is calculated, its probably a good thing that Singapore has a lower unemployment rate for its youngster. It measures the people who want a jobs. Those who are chasing dreams and not searching for employment are not 'unemployed'. Of course the next question is what employment the youngster are in. But that's a separate issue.